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Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994
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Archive for April, 2011

Thinking of forming an Overthinkers Anonymous. Let the overthinking begin!

April 27, 2011 By: jessicazafra Category: Pointless Anecdotes 24 Comments →

It occurred to me today, as it has occurred to me many times in the past, that much of my stress is self-inflicted. Give me the tiniest germ of a thought and I will overthink it to smithereens. And while I am overthinking, I will think of myself overthinking and overthink my overthinking. It is a mental condition, I think. One may argue that I overthink for a living, but it does make life unnecessarily difficult.

Take today. I am going to Korea for the A5N tournament that starts late May but I am going to London next week and will be away for a couple of weeks. When I get back I’d have to rush my Korean visa application. What if I don’t get it on time? Okay, I’ll get it before I go to London. But what if I don’t get it by next week, I can’t fly without a passport aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa overthink overthink.

The Korean visa takes 3 days (If you have US/UK/Aus/NZ visas and have been to Korea before. Otherwise it takes 5 days).
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How is contemporary art like swallowing a live chicken?

April 27, 2011 By: jessicazafra Category: Art 3 Comments →

I don’t know, I just wanted a title with a hook.

When one hears the title “Strip 2011: Painters As Photographers”, the mind automatically goes off on a riff: Plumbers As Photographers, Undertakers As Photographers, Insurance Agents As Photographers, Nuclear Physicists As Photographers. What the hey.

But yesterday I dropped by Silverlens Gallery to see the works being hanged and it became clearer.

The paintings of Yasmin Sison and Geraldine Javier have always looked like photographs to me. When I saw these photos I actually thought they were paintings.
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The Weekly LitWit Challenge 5.5: Yeah, yeah, Yaya

April 26, 2011 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Contest 13 Comments →

One of the narrators of Mona Simpson’s new novel My Hollywood is the nanny, “Lola, a fifty-two-year-old mother of five who is working in America to pay for her own children’s higher education back in the Philippines.” Let’s hear from Lola in her own words:

I live Sunday in this life. There is a light wind, teasing. The sky you can see through to ships far away at sea. We sit in Starbucks, Bing asleep in his stroller, and I write my letter home. This one is a toddler, very easy. I do not have to clean. My career in America it is up. For the first time, I keep my numbers private. They will guess a raise, but not this big.

I need another international stamp. Tomorrow morning I will walk Williamo to the post office. Those machines take pennies. I will have to find things to stack so he can reach the slot. On the stamps are pictures. I know from Bong Bong, that is the job of someone to draw. But a needle starts in my heel; sand scratches my mouth, opening a bad taste. I never asked for too much, from Bong Bong, from the teachers of my children, even from God. If you ask for only a little, maybe then the answer it will be yes.

We’re all for a Filipino protagonist in a novel by a major American author, but…hmm. Uhh…um…IT’S BLAH. We’ve known lots and lots of yayas, and they’re way more complex and vivacious than that. This one seems a little defeated by life. Foreigners just don’t get it. No matter how hard she has to work and how much time she spends away from her own children, Yaya knows that all things considered, life is good. Yaya is Invincible!!! (Clearly Ms Simpson has not encountered anyone like Gareth’s Yaya in the Gaz 365 blog.)

Your assignment for the Weekly LitWit Challenge 5.5: Write a story told in the first person by a Filipino nanny working in a foreign land. Remember, Yaya is our agent of world domination, and must behave accordingly!

Maximum of 1,000 words, deadline on Saturday, 30 April 2011. The prize is a hardcover copy of My Hollywood by Mona Simpson.

The Weekly LitWit Challenge is brought to you by our friends at National Bookstore.

Of time and the brain (Where were you when I needed an electroencephalograph?)

April 26, 2011 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Science 1 Comment →


David Eagleman photo from NYT

“Put this book down and go look in a mirror. Now move your eyes back and forth, so that you’re looking at your left eye, then at your right eye, then at your left eye again. When your eyes shift from one position to the other, they take time to move and land on the other location. But here’s the kicker: you never see your eyes move.” There’s no evidence of any gaps in your perception—no darkened stretches like bits of blank film—yet much of what you see has been edited out. Your brain has taken a complicated scene of eyes darting back and forth and recut it as a simple one: your eyes stare straight ahead. Where did the missing moments go?

The question raises a fundamental issue of consciousness: how much of what we perceive exists outside of us and how much is a product of our minds? Time is a dimension like any other, fixed and defined down to its tiniest increments: millennia to microseconds, aeons to quartz oscillations. Yet the data rarely matches our reality. The rapid eye movements in the mirror, known as saccades, aren’t the only things that get edited out. The jittery camera shake of everyday vision is similarly smoothed over, and our memories are often radically revised. What else are we missing?

Excellent profile of the neuroscientist and writer (Sum) David Eagleman by Burkhard Bilger in TNY.

Two households, sort of alike in dignity (or Sex, Violence and Production Design)

April 24, 2011 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, History, Television 4 Comments →

We’ve always associated Lent with movie epics: Stephen Boyd wearing heavy eyeliner as Nimrod in The Bible, Boyd’s Messala watching Charlton Heston’s Ben-Hur like a matron on a diet eyes a steak, Ben-Hur’s love interest—an actress who bore the unforgettable name Haya Harareet, Heston as Moses parting the Red Sea, Anne Baxter as the Egyptian princess saying, “Moses, Moses, Moses, you stubborn, adorable fool!”

Every year my parents would take me to the cinema on Good Friday to watch a scratchy print of a biblical tale; the story in my family is that during the crucifixion scene in Cecil B. DeMille’s King of Kings, my seven-year-old self declared, “He has no armpit hair.” We feel bad for the younger generation whose Lenten fare consists of such punitive gristle as The Passion of the Christ.


Sean Bean as Boromir I mean Eddard Stark in Game Of Thrones.

This year we sat down and digested two epics: the first episode of HBO’s Game Of Thrones, and four episodes of The Borgias. The first is a fantasy adventure series based on the saga by George R.R. Martin, the second a “historical” drama based on the story of the notorious Borgia family. Interestingly enough, Game is being marketed as “The Sopranos with swords”, after HBO’s famous franchise, and The Borgias (Tagline: “The Original Crime Family”) openly courts comparison to The Godfather, down to the cross-cutting between an assassination attempt and a church ceremony.


Jeremy Irons as Rodrigo Borgia a.k.a. Pope Alexander VI and Francois Arnaud as Cesare Borgia.

That’s not all they have in common. The two shows are about families caught in a bloody struggle for power. Each show features the most sumptuous production design and costumes. Both have major characters who are blindingly blonde virgins. Both have major subplots involving incest, and both take advantage of the freedom of cable with scenes of graphic sex and violence.
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Rejection letter from J.D. Salinger

April 23, 2011 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Famous People 4 Comments →

Sale 2228 Lot 206

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT SALINGER, J.D. Typed Letter Signed, to Elizabeth Cordova, declining to speak at her high school graduation, explaining that this is because he must attend his son’s eighth-grade graduation, stating that talking writers are a scourge, and offering a two-sentence graduation speech intended for her alone. 1 page, 4to, folds. With the original envelope. Windsor, 14 May 1974
Estimate $3,000-4,000

See the details here.